KNIGHTHAWKS GO DEFENSE FIRSTSep 28, 2015
(September 28, 2015)… The Rochester Knighthawks used their first four picks, and five of their six selections, to take defensemen in the 2015 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. Rochester started off the draft by taking Graeme Hossack with the second overall pick.
The 23-year-old from Guelph, Ontario was the top-rated defender in the draft after having an exceptional season with the Brooklin Redmen the past two summers in Major Series Lacrosse.
At the collegiate level, Hossack concluded his senior season by becoming the first player in Lindenwood University history to be selected as a First Team All-American. He also earned ECAC Specialist of the Year honors in 2014 and 2015. Hossack was named First Team All-ECAC three times (2013-15), and was named Team MVP in 2013 and 2014. He concluded his four-year college career with 33 goals, 18 assists, 51 points, 452 ground balls and 145 caused turnovers.
“First and foremost, he is going to fit in really well with these guys,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “He is a great player already. He is tough and plays his position well.”
Rochester used its next two picks to take RIT Tigers Brad Gillies and Derek Searle (Sir-rul). Gillies was named an Honorable Mention Division III All-American after excelling at both the defensive and offensive ends of the field. The midfielder played in all 22 games and finished fifth on the team in scoring with 53 points, which included a team-best 42 assists. The Oakville, Ontario native finished second on the team with 87 ground balls and was tied for fifth with 14 caused turnovers.
Gillies, who has been coming down to Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena for years, was happy to pull on the white sweater of the Knighthawks.
“It feels awesome,” he said. “I’m very familiar with the city. I’m living down there right now so I’ve been to a ton of games. To be able to put that jersey on is an awesome feeling.”
Gillies is hoping to add a fresh face to an already impressive Knighthawks’ defensive lineup. He is excited and ready to join the veteran group and take his chance at cracking the roster this season.
“I’ve got a young, fast game so I think I can definitely add some youth (to the roster),” Gillies said.
Searle comes to Rochester with four seasons of Junior “A” experience on his resume, along with a season at the Major Series Lacrosse level with the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks. The 22-year-old defenseman was voted to a First Team All-Star in the Junior “A” Series in 2013 and 2014. Searle was also named the 2013 winner of the Gus McCauley award as the top defensive player in Junior "A" lacrosse. Searle also spent one season of college lacrosse at RIT. Like his former Tigers’ teammate, he is thrilled to have his shot at playing in the pros in Rochester.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic going to Rochester. I couldn’t be happier,” Searle said. “I’m a pretty aggressive defenseman. I like to go out there and challenge the ball a lot so I look to keep going with that. Rochester plays a solid defense. They like to play an in-your-face style of defense and I think I’ll fit that well.”
Rochester’s fourth pick of the night (16th overall) was Adam Bomberry from Akwesasne. Bomberry played collegiately for Onondaga Community College where he ranked fourth on the team with 57 ground balls in 2015. He was named All-Conference by the Mid-State Athletic Conference, First Team All-Region and First-Team All-American by the NJCAA. In 2015, Bomberry was a member of the Iroquois Nationals team that took home the silver medal at the FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. Bomberry also won back-to-back Minto Cups with the Six Nations Arrows (2014-15) and a Founders Cup with Akwesasne (2015).
“I am humbled and very honored to be selected by such a great organization,” Bomberry tweeted out tonight.
With the 26th pick of the evening, the Knighthawks’ fifth overall, Rochester chose forward John St. John, an Ajax, Ontario native. St. John had a breakout season in his second year with the Toronto Beaches where he finished fourth in the league in scoring with 92 points (38+54) in 20 games in 2015. He also played for the Brooklin Redmen of Major Series Lacrosse, appearing in four games and putting up six points. St. John spent three seasons with the Durham Turfdogs of CLax, as well. In 2013, St. John was voted to the All-Rookie team in CLax.
At the Junior “A” level, he was a member of the 2013 Minto Cup Champion Whitby Warriors. St. John also played for Italy at the 2014 World Field Lacrosse Championship.
“It’s very exciting. This has been my dream my whole life, to be drafted into the NLL. I’m excited to start playing (in Rochester),” St. John said. “I was joking with my dad saying this was when I was supposed to go and then they called my name.”
St. John will be wasting no time getting ready to join the Knighthawks at training camp for his chance to play with some of the NLL’s greats.
“I like to work out and I’m always training,” St. John said. “I’m just going to keep training my heart out to be ready for training camp.”
Rochester’s final pick of the draft (38th overall) was defenseman Greg Longboat of Six Nations. Longboat played for the Six Nations Arrows where he won the last two Minto Cups. Longboat was also a member of the Founders Cup Champion Six Nations Rebels from 2011-13. On the international stage, the hard-working defenseman won a bronze medal at the 2014 FIL World Field Lacrosse Championship.
“It’s such an honor to be picked by the Rochester Knighthawks,” Longboat posted on Twitter. “I have been dreaming about this my whole life. The work starts now.”